Friday, November 23, 2007

The Travel Blog (sorta)

It's always hard to sleep in a hotel. Perhaps that's why they water down the coffee so much, in hopes that the first sip will send you instantly off to blissful dreamland.

They also try to help you sleep by thoughtfully ensuring that the free wi-fi doesn't actually work in the room, so you won't be tempted to sit up surfing the internet all night. I think this is a good strategy, and I've noticed a few hotels that employ it: the La Quinta in Alabama where Cheryl's Bitch and I got cozy the night before my high school reunion, for one, as well as the Bayfront Plaza in Corpus, where you actually could get internet in your actual room, just as long as you sat pressed right up against the door.

But with all its irritations, stresses and privations, I actually adore traveling. Even just to San Antonio, though after my car got broken into night before last I'm anxious about leaving the house unattended. We swept the glass out of the street and moved my poor little happy fun car into the carport. Who would break into a car with flowers on it?? At least they didn't steal the martini glasses.

Now I'm in the lobby of the Howard Johnson's at I-10 and the road I believed for years was, inexplicably, called Days of Allah. What a weird name for a street in a largely Catholic town, I always thought. Eric, Katie and Anna are sleeping back up in the room - finally. Eric's laptop's wireless card is a bit stronger than mine, so even though he kept getting bumped off and it was very slow, he still spent much of the night clicking away, and refused to allow Katie on to "check" her MySpace (though to be fair, this is a process that usually takes several hours), so the aura of resentment emanating from her, even in her sleep, was enough to keep the room fairly warm. Those two have been sworn enemies ever since they were, oh, about two and a half and zero, respectively. Do not stand between them. You will get hurt.

Anna falls asleep with cuddles and kisses, then kicks and punches all night. Still, she's basically a force for good.

I like staying in hotels, too, or at least the concept of it, so I'm glad my in-laws don't have quite enough room at their house to put up all of us, or put up with all of us, as the case may be. I love this section of Lileks' website with all the hotel signs - oooh, or check out this one. Someday I hope to meet someone who will take me there.

(And probably shouldn't hold my breath, seeing as how it's been demolished.)

I always wanted to check out the St.-El-Mo-Tel at Congress and St. Elmo: also recently demolished, though apparently the sign is (hooray! I love Austin!!!) being preserved. You probably wouldn't really want to stay there, but it would almost be worth the price of a night's stay just to go in and look around, maybe take a few pictures. Actually, during its later years you could probably get rooms by the hour. Probably the trendification of South Congress ultimately killed it.

Anyway, the main reason I was so bummed about my Lufkin trip getting cancelled was that I really, really, really wanted to check this one out. I could have found out if they still had the sign. I could have taken a picture for James, whose political views I find personally troubling but whose site has given me many hours of amusement during such long sleepless nights as have not been passed in hotels that advertise free wi-fi.

Hope y'all had a good Thanksgiving!

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